Senate committee approves same-sex marriage bill

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- A measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state is one step closer to passage by the Legislature.

The Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee approved the measure with a 4-3 vote Thursday. The bill is expected to head to a floor vote next, though a date has not yet been determined. Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate and both had public hearings on Monday. There are already enough votes to pass the measure both the House and the Senate.

Washington state has had a domestic partnership law since 2007, and a so-called "everything but marriage" law since 2009.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have promised a referendum battle at the ballot to if the Legislature passes the bill.